Review by Dan Skip Allen
Mike Lombardi is most famous for his role in the FX original series Rescue Me about firefighters in New York. The Retaliators is a far cry from his days on that show. The title says it all. It's a revenge thriller with a horror twist that is quite horrific indeed.
Lombardi plays a father who is also a pastor. He has a nice family: a wife and two daughters. He is quite protective of them. When he finally finds it in himself to let his oldest daughter go to a party on Christmas Eve, it will be the biggest mistake in his life. His daughter gets killed by a mad man and he ends up going down a rabbit hole of revenge-fueled violence and blood.
A local New Jersey cop helps him try to uncover what happened to his daughter and whose responsible. He turns out to have a secret of his own. His lust for revenge sets him on a different path than the pastor. It's not what anybody would have expected. The pastor gets in a little over his head when he has to confront a makeshift prison filled with blood-crazed killers. He is in a fight for survival.
The directors and writers have created a world of nasty no good characters in this film: a crazy biker gang, the revenge-filled pastor, and the detective who's not necessarily on the right side of the law. All of these wide characters surround the innocence of various teenage girls. It's a mix for an absolute bloodbath that is right for the Halloween season.
The film features music from some pretty big names in the rock n roll/metal genre, such as Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach, Tommy Lee from Motley Crue, Sixx AM, and Five Finger Death Punch. All of these singers and members in these bands also feature prominently in the film in smaller but important roles. It's nice to see some of my favorites get the movie treatment, even if it's not a very good movie.
The dialogue in the film isn't anything special to write home about and the acting isn't the best either. This film is just a bunch of B-horror movie violence with a couple of stories that come together to make an overall script. The violence is pretty solid for a horror movie as well. The problem with this film is we've seen it before to some extent. It's just a little too excessive and over the top.
The Retaliators debuted at the 2021 edition of Screamfest, which runs October 12-21.